ACT Test Preparation and Taking Tips
ACT Testing tips from a student just like you! Here’s what you need to know before test day comes around.
People have different views on how to prepare for the ACT and how to attack the test itself. I, personally have taken the test twice in my junior year so far and have found a few tips that have helped me in tackling the high school monster of standardized tests.
My first tip, whether you do this with a tutor, study course, or on your own, is to time yourself on a section of the ACT before the test. Use the Quesbook practice problems or the one’s ACT provides on their website. Make sure to do the amount of problems that are in the section of that test, and time yourself to the amount of time offered on the test. This will allow you to see which subjects you need to focus harder in, and about how long you will want to spend on each problem. However, when you’re taking the test, don’t overthink the time. You want to be conscious of the clock, but don’t check it after every problem… that just wastes even more of your precious time.
Do not stress out and cram the night before. Practice one subject section a week or every night of the week leading up to the test. Use the Friday before the test to look over your practice problems, reviewing anything you need to, and get a good night’s rest.
Now it’s the morning of. Don’t freak out! Give yourself lots of time to get ready and get to the testing center. If you followed the previous tip and got a good night’s rest, you will not be needing gallons of coffee to jumpstart your brain. Actually, just drink your usual amount of caffeine, so that your body knows how to react and you won’t feel over antsy or super exhausted when it comes time to testing. A frothy, extra whip latte may sound enticing on the early, stressful morning, but caffeine plus fake sugar does not mix well and will only aid in exhaustion.
Food can be a huge asset or drawback to your testing. Try to eat more nutrient-rich meals the week or days leading up to the test. This can be from shrimp pasta to a spinach salad and veggie pizza. Have a healthy breakfast prepared for the morning of the test day. For best results, have the breakfast include a whole grain, a protein, and some fruit. The whole grain will keep you full through the first half of the test, the protein fuels your brain cells, and the fruit adds some healthy sweetness. Worried about time? A lot of healthy breakfasts, like overnight oats, can be prepared the night before for a stress-free morning. Try to pack an easy to eat snack for your test break (which occurs halfway through the testing time). A bag of granola, nuts and berries or a cheese stick are all great options. Do not forget a water bottle too! Just like when playing a sport, your body needs to be hydrated to be able to perform to it’s best ability.
When it comes to the actual test taking, here are a few of my strategies.
Mathematics: Once you think an answer to be correct, move on! Usually your first choice is correct and you want to not spend too much time on one question, but have a chance to look over the remaining questions.
Reading: Look for the big, connecting ideas. Definitely, make notes, or annotate in the passage when reading. This means circling, underlining, or marking with other annotations when you come across key ideas, characters or anything else that seems important to the story. This will greatly help when referring to the passage for answers.
Science: Look over the questions before looking at the passages. This was you know what to look for when analyzing the data.
English: Read in your head; usually the options that sound wrong are wrong. Can’t tell? Try to remember the main rules of English such as rules including pronouns, subject verb relationships, and sentence structuring.
Lastly, once the moderator calls the 5-minute mark, fill in all the unanswered bubbles by random guessing. You want to make sure you have an answer for every question, right or wrong, before it’s time to put pencils down. You can then go back and continue with the question you were working on until time is up.
I read a few of my tips from this article when preparing for my test. Had to give credit where credit is due: https://www.petersons.com/college-search/act-scores-tips-strategies.aspx#/sweeps-modal
Hannah Ashton is like most typical high school students, except that she shares her daily life online to thousands. Hannah loves talking about topics like school, beauty, and all things lifestyle with her growing YouTube audience of likeminded ladies. She wants to continue her passion for media and journalism as she graduates, goes to college, and starts her career in a creative outlet she loves.